How We Made the 36-Square-Foot Kitchen Work

April 29, 2017


This little kitchen has been the heart and soul of our apartment in so many ways. We’ve lived here for just over two years and even though 36-square-feet isn’t a lot, we’ve made it work. While we were so excited to to try all the wonderful restaurants in our new city when we moved here, we knew we would inevitably need and want to cook at home. Sharing recipes ended up being a huge part of Household, and food in general is something we are clearly passionate about so when we first viewed our apartment we were nervous. We made the quick decision to take the good light and the large (for NYC) open space and crossed our fingers we would make the “smallest kitchen we’ve ever seen” work. And we did. Since I started the blog I’ve received questions about how we functioned in such a small space so I thought I’d round up my tips for making our 36-square-foot kitchen work.





1. Storage space is key. Considering there’s not much counter space or room to walk around in our kitchen, we lucked out with nearly floor to ceiling cabinets. We stored everything for cooking (with the exception of our mixer) in our kitchen, along with all of our cleaning supplies.

2. Stick to the essentials. As much as I appreciate kitchen appliances and utensils we made a conscious effort to stick to just what we need. This meant skipping a microwave, and only purchasing the pots, pans and even dish-ware we needed. Nothing fancy in here.

3. Utilize the open space you do have. We try to keep the one open shelf we have pretty clean and empty so that it we can plate dishes and so on. It’s easy to want to fill your kitchen with knick knacks (like these little pots), but we’ve really found it helpful to keep decor out.

4. Do your dishes as you go. This is crucial given the amount of space we have – we have to clean as we go to keep our tiny workspace clean. We use a small drying rack and are not only doing dishes as we go, but are putting them away too. So helpful once your meal is complete!

5. Open the window. Given the size of our kitchen it can get warm, quickly. If you’re building out a kitchen in a small space like this I highly recommend having a window. Not only does it help with heat and airflow, but it gives you the illusion that things are a little more open than they seem.

6. One cook in the kitchen. Zack and I previously loved cooking together, but this space is just too small for two cooks. For the meals we were both needed we utilized our dining table for prepping, but always try to stick to just one cook in the kitchen.

7. Keep what you use regularly out. Our skillet is quite large, and while it certainly isn’t the most attractive piece of kitchen gear, we like to keep it on our stove. We do the same with our tea kettles and just move them when we need to use the burners for something else.

8. Add personality on the fridge. Since we don’t have the counter or shelf space to really decorate the kitchen, having photos on the fridge gives some life to the nook and an overall more home-y feel.

9. If you’re really lacking in space, use the oven for storage.
Clearly you should only store oven safe dishes if you choose to take this tip, and even then I would really make sure it’s something you’re going to remember each time you turn on the oven. That being said, make all your space count!

10. Keep your go to spices and oils where you can see them. When you’re hiding so much in the cabinets, it can be tricky to find things efficiently. Make space for the few ingredients you know you’ll use with almost every meal.






As tricky as this kitchen was to work with, there’s a big part of me that’s going to miss cooking our family meals in this small space. Do you have any tricks for making a tiny kitchen work?

Photography by Amy Frances.

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